Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A devils await you for Quake 4


Level name:Devil's Waiting

Author: Bartlomiej 'Lunkin' Garbiak

Release date: 15 May 2007

Size: 6 562 ko

Number of maps: 1

website: here

download: Author's page


The war spreads itself over the entire Universe. You and your team are deployed on a Pogon - cold planet half way between Stroggos and Earth. Your task is to find a way into the enemy's base and locate and kill one of the Stroggos Generals.

Review :

Design of this one is really well balance from outdoor to indoor with a good non repetitive layout that fits the mission. Architecture is also well enhance and even without the use of the updating patch everything runs fine. the background story make me a little think to the last chapter of Starship trooper's novel from Robert A Heinlein...mission start directly with a immersing cutscene where you and you squad are drop on the cold Ice planet and there the battle begins. Progression is straight forward but with alternative routes and full of suprise that really make game like Doom3 and Quake4 must have. A minor lack for me was the sound ambiance that didn't add the right stress at the right moment.

Gameplay is from the same bottle as the design: good enemies placement, ambushes, challenging places well triggered. All items are also well placed and enhance the entire mission that isn't that easy to complete. Progression is obvious with addition of several activating button...there is no bad surprise, but clever surpise awaits you... it just flows from start to end.

In conclusion: A short enjoyable release with good design, realisation and atmosphere. It's sadly a little to short but well worth the try.

Playtime: 30 minutes

Rating: A B C D E (81%)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Trespasser for Half-Life

***this review was previously available at Alejandro Map Center***

Level name: Half-Life : Trespasser

Author: Eivind Larsen

Date of release: 25 December 2002

Size: 12 027 Ko

Number of maps: 8

website: Author's site

download: At Planetphillip.com


Your name is Mark Hunt, an elite Marine sent in to "clean up" the Black Mesa incident. Near evening your platoon was ambushed by a superior force, taking you completely by surprise. In the chaos you became separated from your C.O. and by sheer luck evaded the atomic blast that followed. The Brass didn't call it luck. You were courtmartialed for desertion and sentenced to ten years in a maximum security prison. Two years into your sentence, something happened...you awoke in your cell one morning to find a clean-cut stiff with a briefcase standing by the door. He was government issue lackey all the way, complete with crew cut and quiet smirk. Your instincts screamed not to trust him, but he made an offer you couldn't refuse. Pull a simple operation for him, and you're a free man. You couldn't say no.
The G-man worked for a top secret paramilitary branch of the FBI. A conspiracy theorist's dream; Stone faced puppeteers pulling invisable strings, operating above and beyond the law for their own inscrutable purposes. As of that day, you ceased to exist.
That was two weeks ago. Last month sitting alone in your concrete cage, the walls cold and crushing, the thought of a mission was ambrosia. Freedom was all you could think of. Now that cell's looking pretty cozy. The mission as the director explained was simple. Infiltrate an underground weapons facility owned by a massive multinational corporation, 'procure' a canister from the bioweapons lab and get out in one piece. Just like stealing candy from a baby. A baby in the seventh circle of hell.
You are to enter the main facility and work your way to the labs. How is up to you but should you err and trigger the alarm, your chances of getting to the chemical are going from impossible to worse. Upon reaching the office complex you will find a Hazardous Environment Suit belonging to one "Gordon Freeman." His "absence" has already been arranged by the department; assume his identity and enter the labs. From there it should be a cakewalk, if you're lucky. But if there's one thing you've learned in two years in the brig, it's that Lady Luck is a bitch. Intelligence has recieved reports of a radical terrorist organization planning actions against the facility. At least the security guards aren't out to kill anyone they see. Should this organization interfere with your plans, remember: you are above the law. Don't let anything stand in your way.
Contact with headquarters will be maintained via a special encrypted radio. As with the rest of your equipment, under no circumstances may any evidence of the department's existence fall into enemy hands. Good luck, soldier.


Half-life : Trespasser is a relatively good surprise that came out at the end of 2002. It is more reliable, in my opinion, to a kind of Opposing-force mission ( no presence of aliens/Xen world, military objective oriented). Your goal is to infiltrate a research facility center where you’re gonna face a lot of events (through cutscenes and set pieces), solving or surviving them is your only objective in order to reach the end. The author (this is his first release) tried to use a lot of new stuff to accomplish this one year work: new textures, remodelled enemies and a new weapon (Uzy). This all adds something personal to this release (makes me think of affliction). Naturally it has its flaws because after a perfect start (small puzzles, simple but good designed rooms, impressive new texture), the author enhanced his skill but also, in my opinion, worked faster. Results of this are a close to classic HL texture, some r_speed problems (with a new 3d card you wouldn’t notice them) and finally the final piece that is put in a launch facility with a countdown. This provides more a frustration feeling than one of accomplished work (like in ground zero). He could have added some HEV and health distributors or given more time for the countdown.
In conclusion: we have seen less releases than in the past years, but on the other hand, there is nearly no crap left. Even though it has some flaws, Trespasser is a really interesting enjoyment. Just thinking at the end that it was a little bit too short…but this was only due to the fact that I didn’t see time passing…because I enjoyed it.
A good mission pack that you should try.

1 hour 20

Rating: A B C D E (83 %)

Picture were curtously taken from tenfour...without permission...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Soldier Of Fortune IV for Quake2


Level name: Soldier Of Fortune : Cold as Ice

Author: Neil Manke

Release date: 01 December 1998

Size: 3 940 ko

Number of maps: 2

website: here




In a hostile arctic wilderness, Matt's bear hunting holiday goes very bad. You will need to battle polar bears, wolves and a renegade factionof the Russian army to survive.


Thank god for hi-tech thermonuclear polar underwear:]

Review :

this is the last opus in Neil Manke Soldier of Fortune serie after a first part made for Q1 that didn't have a lot of feedback except perhaps this one . All other missions were created under Quake 2 engine with as a second mission this one, that didn't recieve a chapter name and as third mission with chapter name Operation Desert Bloom. Even if all of them could easily catch your attention through the fact Neil's creation follow mostly the same sheme has for Coconut series (A particular theme visited through a mission with some custom content) I found no real interest for Mission 2&3 that especially, for Operation Desert Bloom, remind me of Coconut monkey 2 : Dry Gulch. The Mission IV, Cold as Ice was different through it's perfectly fitting custom content and that's why it was add to the sp map corner.

Design has nothing really special it's a good mix beween rock, iced water places, and tiny bulding location. There is nothing really impressive but it's really fluid and well put together with perfect use of texture, models, prefabs and skybox. The ambiance is omnipresent and increase the experience you encounter by the use of USSR subject, like if you were lost somewhere in Siberia and try to succeed you mission.

Gameplay is also well mixed but nothing really tremendous, custom models add something special to this pack and especially the animals (dogs and Yeti). Enemy placement, the way your progression is oriented also taking in count diving and climbing makes it a well balanced pak. The use of the skydoo also remember me experiences encountered while playing game as contract JACK or NOLF wich was for me a good surpise. Sadly it's too short even if the challenge is honest and that use of small puzzle solving make it not a simple speed and kill map.

In conlcusion: there is a lot of creation by Neil form Quake to Half-Life and nearly all of them really deserved to be played through. It's not a perfect release it's quite short and misses certainly a bigger approach though much more content and action.Except from that, It really deserve you attention and a short time of you gaming experience.

Playtime: 30 minutes

Rating: A B C D E (87%)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

ETC for Half-Life

***this review was previously available at Alejandro Mapping Center***

Level name: ETC

Author: Dave Johnston

Release date: 6 October 1999

Size: 5 445 ko

Number of maps: 7

website: here and here



Review :

The author from this one and the sequel ETC 2 is already an old ‘boy’ in mapping for more than 12 years he has been working on games like doom, quake, half-life and even more. He worked also for companies include CS, CS condition-zero, TFC, James Bond 007 Nightfire and one hove the most popular CS map called Dust. David is still studying Software Engineering at Southampton University and should succeed his Degree in 2005.
Let’s talk about ETC, this one back in 99 was a quite well appreciated release (silver award at 10/4). In a simple but so efficient way it remember us the original game or even uplink. Design is really impressive too perfect, brushes work, texturing and most of all lighting creates the perfect atmosphere. Also looking to small cutscenes adds the necessary feeling to create a great add-on. The progression is nearly forward and will make you pass from time to time other visited place you encounter before (that’s always great!), ammo and health being well spread all over the pack. Is there any problem? For me the ‘biggest’ problem is that there is no story behind and this really is being pointed out by the fact you sometime don’t know which direction you can take (would have certainly increase the total pak if there was more scripting to tell you what come next). We could certainly also point that ambiance sound (if they were more use) would certainly increase the general atmosphere. After performing this new mission you will end it in a way there could be a possibility to create a sequel…which will be the case.

In conclusion: if you have some regrets that you have been immersed for a long time in new modifications with a lot of new stuffs and you mind replaying the original game, this is the opportunity to get back the filling with a totally new scenery…nearly professional, a real must !

Playtime : 1 hour 30

Rating: A B C D E (87%)

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Widening Gyre for Quake 2


Level name: The Widening Gyre

Author: Carson 'Riscchip' Utz

Release date: 28 October 1998

Size: 2 161 ko

Number of maps: 1

website: here


Turning and turning in THE WIDENING GYREThe falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
-- William Butler Yeats, January 1919

Review :

The second end last attempt from the author to create a single player level (Lot's of Q3 map are available from his homepage) This map should have been part of a episode which will certainly never be release...

Even if this map has certainly a DM orientation (supported) I was so estonish from the quality release that I think I should share this one with you.

Design is really perfect with a perfect balance between architecture and lightning the interconnectivity from floor to floor in a non linear way with perfect transition of texture through every room visited create a great immersing feeling. The visit theme even if quite classic (Strogg Base) is really enjoyable and never let you feel from replaying a part of the official release.

Gameplay is never boring with secret place not that difficult to find a good use of enemies and weapon proposal (get powered one when the challenge increase) and with a little bit over 100 enemies will old you busy enough without getting bored. The progression is rythm by key hunting and defeating ambushes till you reach a quite to classic end that let you the choice of a direct difficult or an alternate easy fight.

In conclusion: Appart from the end and the playtime experience (a little too short) this map only contains highlights from arcitecture to lightning and the way they were mix to the well balance experience in a non linear way, Just give this one a try !

Playtime: 30 minutes

Rating: A B C D E (87%)